Summary: History is full of turning points. In Romans 8, Paul tells us that we still suffer from the turning point that happened in the Garden of Eden. However, history's greatest turning point, the death and resurrection of Jesus, is undoing the effects of that
One of the unique things about history is being able to look back and to see the moments and turning points in which everything changed. It is neat to see how some of the smallest, and seemingly unimportant events, at a certain moment in time, had a bigger significance than anyone would have ever imagined. Take the Civil War for example. Historians have studied the conflict so much that they are able to know the exact day, place, and time of the war’s key turning point. This event happened at day two of the battle of Gettysburg where Lieutenant Joshua Chamberlain stopped the Confederate attack on Little Round Top. After that moment, the war went entirely in the Union’s favor. It was the moment that won them the war and changed American history forever even though it seemed like an ordinary moment in battle. It certainly was a key turning point.
In Romans 8, we see the effects from another important turning point in history. This turning point took place with a newly wed couple in a wonderful paradise. This paradise was a wonderful garden that was full of life, fruit bearing trees, vegetation, and peaceful animals. This place was called “Good” by its Creator. Everything was fine and dandy until a crafty serpent slithered up next to the woman named Eve and said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” She responded that they could eat of any tree except the one that is in the midst of the garden. She added that they couldn’t even touch it lest they die.
But the serpent was persistent and shrewd, and reassuringly said, “You certainly won’t die. Don’t you want to be like God, knowing good and evil?” And with that, she grabbed the fruit of the tree, took a bite, and then served some of it to her husband, a man named Adam. With that first bite, history’s first major turning point happened along with the consequences that would follow. As they ate, their eyes became opened, and they realized that they were naked. They decided to hide because of that.
But the Creator, the Lord, decided to look for them. When Adam and Eve came out of their hiding, a confrontation broke out. The Lord asked if they ate from the forbidden tree, and Adam replied, “Its your fault God! You gave me that woman Eve who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Then the Lord asked Eve, “What is this that you have done?” and she replied, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” What happened next were the consequences of that turning point. Both the serpent and the woman are cursed because of their sin. Next comes the man’s curse, and then one more….creation’s! The Lord told the man, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you….” Who knew that one little bite from a piece of fruit could do so much damage?
In Romans 8, Paul tells us that the effects of this turning point are still felt today! He writes, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” As man fell, so did creation, whether it deserved to or not. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, creation has come under God’s judgment too. It is no longer able to fulfill God’s purposes. Instead of producing fruit and flowers, it produces thorns and thistles, a sign of its curse. Creation longs for freedom and redemption from the futility, corruption, and decay that it is subjected to. It longs for the completion of our redemption at the last day so that it too will be renewed, restored, and free.
But creation is not the only one that suffers from that turning point in the Garden of Eden. The apostle says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” With creation, we groan too because of the suffering and hardships that we endure because of Adam and Eve’s sin. We are still enduring the effects of their sin some 5,000 plus years later! We feel the effect of sin in our bodies and see it in our lives. We endure the frustration and devastation that comes with bodies that are susceptible to diseases like cancer, diabetes, strokes, depression, and arthritis. We bear the pain of loss and heartache that comes from the death of a wife, husband, son, daughter, brother, or sister. We struggle with the stresses that come with life, like worries about making ends meet, or even our own futures. All of these things are the results and effects of sin in our world. We look forward and long for a time when we will be free from sin, suffering, sickness, pain, and problems. With creation, we long for that final day when Jesus will make all things new. We long for the completion of our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.